Eleven Years: Lesson #9 – Tears are Cleansing.

Eleven Years: Lesson #9 – Tears are Cleansing.

Lesson #9:  Tears are cleansing.

Two months before Dustin and I were to be married, we went to the beach with my family.  And whilst at the beach, we went to the movies with my mom (my mom loves a good movie) and saw the feature film, “Finding Nemo.”


Spoiler Alert:  Nemo’s mother died in the first five minutes. Maybe in the first 30 seconds of the movie.

Which is one of the easiest ways to turn on my tear faucet.

Then I begin to understand that this fish is a special needs fish (gimp fin) and I became a basket case.

I have always had a big heart for the underdog.

And then I watch as he suffers and struggles to find his dad and all I wanted was justice for my little striped friend.

Just let him find his dad!  HE NEEDS HIS DADDY!!!

And praise the Lord for Dory because if it had not been for her comic relief, I would have done the ugly cry for the duration of “Finding Nemo.”

Let’s just say that by the time the movie ended, I was sobbing so loudly that I am pretty sure that Dustin was reconsidering his engagement to this emotional wreck.

I remember leaving the movie theatre unconsolable and going into the crowded bathroom and having to use a crisp paper towel to blow my nose.

As I exited the theatre, I was still sniffling with red eyes and I remember someone asking me what movie I had seen.

Through tears I began to sob again, “Fi-inding Nee-moooo!”
And I cried most of the way back to our condo.  With Dustin sitting up front with mom and asking me what was wrong and mom just telling him to give me a few minutes.

When I finally got my tears under control, I explained to him that seeing the struggle and the heartache (that I perceived) just broke me.  I do not like for anyone to have a struggle.  I don’t like for anyone’s mother to die.  Or father.  Or anyone!

Basically, I have always dreamt of a bubble that me and all my people could live in safely and live happily ever after.

Don’t worry – there have been plenty of events that have popped my “bubble.”

I was so encouraged by the words of Granger E. Westberg, “Emotion is essential to a persona and to try to repress it is to make one less than a person.”

Granger also says, “To bottle it up unnecessarily is to do ourselves harm.  We ought to express the grief we feel.  Some will be too embarrassed to grieve openly; they can go off by themselves and let their grief take its natural course in any of a variety of ways.”

When you have tears to cry, let them flow.

When you have frustrations to vent, let them vent.

“Grieve not as those who have not hope…” 1 Thessalonians 4:13

And Westberg adds, “but for goodness’ sake, grieve when you have something worth grieving about!”



Eleven Years: Lesson #7 – Being a Mom is HARD WORK!

Eleven Years: Lesson #7 – Being a Mom is HARD WORK!

Lesson #7:  Being a Mom is HARD WORK whether your child in here on earth with you or if they are in heaven. 


In anticipation for a second child, I had a mental list of how I could handle the double-diaper duty that was forthcoming.

  • Larger diaper bag.  (Polka dots, please)
  • Large Stash of Wipes (Cucumber Melon and Green Tea scent, please)
  • Sets of reusable bags for the multiple outfits I would need to carry with me everywhere.
  • Sets of washable bags for the dirty clothes that would follow me home.
  • Boy clothing (blue/red/green sleepers and a suit for special occasions)
  • A bow tie (insert the excited clapping hands here…I love a good bow tie)

I knew how much work it was to remember all the things for my first little lady as an only child.  And I will be the first to admit that I am pretty sure I carried with me way more than I really needed…first time mother problems…they are real!

If we were to discuss Enneagram types again, I would tell you that I have a strong 5 wing…a 5 thinks about things very logically…

And I was thinking about mothering two children extremely logically at this point.  Ruthie needed to stay in the crib for a while longer and the little lad could just use the pack ‘n play in our bedroom until the crib was available for him.

This second child did not need as many outfits as his sister had had.  (Boy vs. girl problems, right!?!)

The little boy would sleep just as well as his sister had.  (I know, I know.  I am rolling my eyes at my younger self, too.)

Basically, I was trying to plan to make what could have been considered a little chaotic a little less stressful for my life.

So even though Daniel never came home and I never had to keep diapers or outfits for him in my diaper bag, I found mothering him to be a different kind of hard.

No longer were my tasks to train him to obey or to tee-tee in the potty, or settle himself to sleep, my task was to let him go to the One who held my little boy in His arms.

Oh, and the letting go was harder than the holding on.  At least for me.

I so wanted that little boy to have in my arms.  To see him fish with his daddy and pick on his sisters.

And subsequently train to love/protect his sisters instead of/in addition to picking on them.

But since his death, eleven years ago, I have learned that much of parenting is more about letting go and letting God than it is about me controlling and orchestrating.

God is a much better parent than I ever hope to be.

He loves my children way more than I ever could.

And thankfully everyone in my house is a child of God.  We all have an amazing Heavenly Father who loves us.

“Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever.  Amen.”  Ephesians 3:20-21

11 Years: Lesson #5 – Girls are awesome!

11 Years: Lesson #5 – Girls are awesome!

IMG_7132One day we were standing in the line at our local Walmart, the three little ladies and myself, when a voice behind us said, “Are you going to try again for a boy?”

Never had I met this man before in my life.  I am pretty sure our circles would NEVER cross except for the fact that we shopped at the same Walmart.

While I was debating in my head what to say to this neighborly person, my Lee-Girl said confidently, “I have a brother – my brother is in heaven.”

Then her big eyes waited for this unsuspecting man to respond.

I just smile, an “I am sorry, but it’s true” sort of smile at him.

Now we had made the poor fellow feel quite awkward.   Read more

11 Years: Lesson #4

11 Years: Lesson #4

After our 20-week ultrasound that confirms Daniel’s gender, Dustin had to have a serious talk with me.  He sat me down and told me this:

“You have to teach Daniel to call his boy parts by the right name.”

I just looked in horror as he explained that it was important that he knew all of his male parts’ correct names.  

And since he would be at work during the business days, I needed to reinforce this.   No calling anything a “weenie.”

No, sir.   We at the Dustin Petrey household were going to use the “P” word.  

And clearly I still have issues with using that word.  

I don’t apologize.    

Anyway, after Daniel died, I remember crying out to the Lord, ” I would have taught him that it was a penis!”   

I just wanted my baby!   

In subsequent years, when folks would have baby boys, I would be happy for them from afar.   I didn’t want to hold these boys until they were older and did not resemble a baby…because it hurt too much to hold a baby and a boy.   

Now I am okay with baby boys, though I might tear up a smidge.  And honestly, God has brought a few little fellows into my life who I love with all my heart.   Here are two of them:


I never held these guys when they were in the hospital, but they come visit me quite often nowadays and bring with them the most wonderful of times.  And I am so grateful that they are my nephews and that they remind me often that they too wish that Daniel was here on earth so they could play with him.   

Lesson #4:  Boys (and their anatomy) are okay.   

Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”  Psalm 127:3

11 Years: Lesson #3

11 Years: Lesson #3


I am either a five with a six wing or a six with a five wing on the enneagram. If you don’t know about the enneagram that last sentence just sounded like a foreign language you can’t speak.

Translation: I need time to process and I need security.


So when Daniel died and we met with the funeral home, I was overwhelmed at the thought of a receiving of friends…I wasn’t even sure what had just happened.  I could not process the comments and affections from publicly opening up this Life Celebration to the public.

So instead we asked that the obituary not show up in the paper (does anyone still get a newspaper?) until after the funeral was over.

We only invited our family and close friends to the funeral. About eighty people or so.

And I asked our church family not to call me. Someone else served as a liaison between me and the meal coordination…I just couldn’t handle it.

And then I started feeling lonely. Because it wasn’t like I had just asked everyone and their brother to leave me alone or anything…

Lesson #3: Even when you feel lonely, you are not alone.

This may seem like the most obvious message of all times…but it took me a while to remember that God was with me even when I felt like no one remembered me or my pain.

I am going to make a statement here that you may disagree with…and that is totally fine.

Here it is: I don’t believe that God planned for Daniel to die…I think He allowed it to happen and all the while He was saying to me, “I am here.” “Let me help you.”

We live in a fallen world and unfortunate things happen a lot.

Like babies dying.

And yet, God walks with us and I have learned to look to Him when I need to process the world around me.

And sometimes I gain understanding.

Other times, my faith grows because I can not understand the whys or whens of events that happen in this fallen world.  And that is okay…I have had to learn to be okay with the unknown because I trust the known God..

Because none of this is a surprise to God.  And He has never left me to walk this life or process its events by myself.

And I can praise Him for that.

“When the righteous cry for help, the Lord hears and delivers them out of all their troubles.  The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.”  Psalm 34:17-18

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”  Psalm 16:8

“And behold, I am with you always to the end of the age.”  Matthew 28:20

“Blessed be the Lord!  For he has heard the voice of my pleas for mercy.  The Lord is my strength and my shield; in him my heart trusts, and I am helped; my heart exults, and with my song I give thanks to him.  The Lord is the strength of his people; he is the saving refuge of his anointed.  Oh, save your people and bless your heritage!  Be their shepherd and carry them forever.”  Psalm 28:6-9

11 Years: Lesson #1

11 Years: Lesson #1

Today marks the eleventh anniversary of the day when sweet Daniel was lifted from my womb into a world full of medical providers who would monitor him closely for the 36 hours he lived on earth.

Eleven years ago, January 26th was on a Friday.  And today, being a Friday seems hard to walk through my normal activities without remembering exactly where I was and who was with me on that day.   ELEVEN YEARS AGO!

Here is a picture of me about this same time (3pm on that Friday):

The first time I saw and touched Daniel.

While time has/does heal all wounds, there are some scars that you never can forget the story to.  I am not the same person that I was eleven years and one day ago.  And praise God that I have grown closer to Him and understand more fully His love and grace today than my 27 year-old self ever did.

Yes, I just told you my age.

And even though I have been an absent blogger for, oh say, the last three months, I want to share eleven things that I have learned in the last eleven years thanks to the heartache of my son’s home being in heaven and thanks to a Heavenly Father who never gave up on me or my emotions or my broken heart.

So for those of you who are subscribed to this blog, you will get a notification for the next ten days because here is number one:

Lesson #1: Life is a gift.

Read more

How’s your class going?

How’s your class going?

Someone asked me about the class I was in the other Sunday at church saying, “How’s your class going?”

I looked at her startled…I didn’t know I was in school again?  (Other than my normal homeschooling duties where I am learning much!)

Then she reminded me that we are helping facilitate a group for parents who have experienced a baby/infant loss.

Oh, that class…

Broken HART Logo Grescale-01

Since then many others have asked so I thought I would give you an update:

The class (from my perspective) has been wonderful.  It is the perfect size to be safe for folks to share their hurts and I truly believe that healing is taking place for many of the people in our group.

It’s like we have said so many times (and will say again), you will never get over your loss (or under it or around it), but you will get through it.  And having the support of a group of people who have experienced the loss of a baby/infant is wonderful.

We still have three weeks of meeting and sharing and loving on each other and I have to say…I am excited.  This has been a group that we all felt we needed and the people attending have been brave enough to open up about their griefs.  To be able to be real and to share with others is truly a gift from God.

So thank you to all who have been praying for our group, please continue to do so.  We will meet three more times before Thanksgiving.  I am excited to see what God will do in and through it all!